Blaster: The Worm Du Jour (8/13/03)

Being Mac users, we usually aren't affected by viruses, so we tend to be a little slow to realize that a new one has shown up to say howdy. Eventually you learn to read the signs, though; judging by the general sluggishness we're noticing around the 'net and the occasional IT person running pell-mell down the street with his hair on fire, we can only assume that yet another virus-thingy has the Wintel world by the virtual throat. Sure enough, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, the latest in a long line of NaughtyWare to disturb the peace is known as "Blaster," which apparently showed up on Monday and continues to spread more quickly than terminal boredom at a "Documentaries About Chalk and Excise Tax" film festival. CERT claims that 1.4 million individual IP addresses had been infected by yesterday afternoon.

Now, we pretty much always chuckle a little when something like this sends Wintel networks into a tizzy, but this time the Giggle Quotient's just about off the meter. Perhaps you recall how, the day after Microsoft scored a $90 million contract to provide software for 140,000 computers at the Department of Homeland Security, Microsoft announced that most versions of Windows included a little security oopsie that kindasorta lets cybermeanies "seize control of a victim's Windows computer over the Internet, stealing data, deleting files, or eavesdropping on emails." And maybe you recall just a couple of weeks ago when the same Department of Homeland Security (yes, the one that shelled out $90 mil for a pile of software so insecure it's frequently mistaken for Woody Allen's more neurotic younger brother) saw fit to issue "an unprecedented second warning" about this particular security abyss, practically begging all Windows-using Americans to patch their Wintels posthaste.

Gee, guess which vulnerability Blaster exploits? So that should give you a sense of how seriously the average Wintel user takes the necessity of patching Windows's many holes, even when the government gets involved.

Interestingly enough, Blaster has an air of tech commentary about it that most viruses sadly lack; it appears to exist primarily to chastise Microsoft for making Blaster's existence possible in the first place. The worm's code includes this message: "Billy Gates why do you make this possible? Stop making money and fix your software." On top of that, this Saturday all infected computers will reportedly participate in a massive distributed denial of service attack by firing off zillions of requests to, Microsoft's site for issuing all those hundreds of security patches that evidently no one ever downloads. (Well, at least the site will get some traffic for once.)

As usual, Macs themselves can't be infected by Blaster, but Macs Only! reports that Mac networks can experience problems even if there's only a single infected Wintel somewhere on the LAN. They suggest that the solution is to "take the Wintel offline, apply the Microsoft Windows patch, and use a worm removal tool." We here at AtAT would amend that slightly in order to prevent a similar problem in the future:

  1. Take the Wintel offline;
  2. Throw it off the nearest bridge;
  3. There's no step three.

SceneLink (4140)
And Now For A Word From Our Sponsors

Mash-ups and original music by AtAT's former Intern and Goddess-in-Training

Prim M at YouTube


The above scene was taken from the 8/13/03 episode:

August 13, 2003: Wouldja believe Steve Jobs is the highest-paid CEO in America? Well, Bloomberg thinks so, anyway. Meanwhile, Apple settles a class action suit with refunds and coupons, and the latest worm to slime the Wintel world once again leaves Macs (mostly) unaffected...

Other scenes from that episode:

  • 4138: Jet Jet Options Jet Options (8/13/03)   Heads up, Steve Junkies: it's no substitute for the Expo keynote we were cheated out of last month, but BusinessWeek has posted an excerpt of an interview with everyone's favorite Mercurial Boy. Tune in for the Gospel According to Jobs on subjects as diverse and sundry as why Apple hasn't cut R & D spending, which tech companies "amaze" him, why the iPod is "innovative" without being "new," why Boise's never going to have a booming tech market, and more...

  • 4139: Blink And You'd Miss It (8/13/03)   Crack all the jokes you want about the snail's pace at which the U.S. legal system tends to move, but every once in a while disputes do, in fact, get resolved at what can only be described as "breakneck speed."...

Or view the entire episode as originally broadcast...

Vote Early, Vote Often!
Why did you tune in to this '90s relic of a soap opera?
Nostalgia is the next best thing to feeling alive
My name is Rip Van Winkle and I just woke up; what did I miss?
I'm trying to pretend the last 20 years never happened
I mean, if it worked for Friends, why not?
I came here looking for a receptacle in which to place the cremated remains of my deceased Java applets (think about it)

(1202 votes)

As an Amazon Associate, AtAT earns from qualifying purchases

DISCLAIMER: AtAT was not a news site any more than Inside Edition was a "real" news show. We made Dawson's Creek look like 60 Minutes. We engaged in rampant guesswork, wild speculation, and pure fabrication for the entertainment of our viewers. Sure, everything here was "inspired by actual events," but so was Amityville II: The Possession. So lighten up.

Site best viewed with a sense of humor. AtAT is not responsible for lost or stolen articles. Keep hands inside car at all times. The drinking of beverages while watching AtAT is strongly discouraged; AtAT is not responsible for damage, discomfort, or staining caused by spit-takes or "nosers."

Everything you see here that isn't attributed to other parties is copyright ©,1997-2023 J. Miller and may not be reproduced or rebroadcast without his explicit consent (or possibly the express written consent of Major League Baseball, but we doubt it).